Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Is TIVO the Best DVR?

TIVO

Episode 1752

Rocco from Valencia, CA

Rocco is seeing all sorts of security warnings for passwords in his iPhone's settings. Leo says that is Apple's latest security feature that not only reviews passwords to make sure they are secure but will warn users if they reuse them, and provide a link to change them if they are compromised or not secure. LastPass does the same thing. Other vaults include One Password and BitPass. 

What's a good TV for gaming?

Cyberpunk 2077

Episode 1751

Parker from Pasadena, CA

Parker is a gamer and is looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077. He recently bought the Nvidia RTX 380 video card for his PC. He's got it connected to his TV, but it's causing a problem with the resolution. Leo says Parker is going to need a 4K TV that can handle a higher refresh rate. Leo says that LCDs are notoriously low. So an OLED may be the way to go. Latency is also an issue, but OLEDs handle that as well as the best LCDs. OLEDs are around 14ms, and some are GSync compatible. So look for that.

Scott Wilkinson ... One more plug

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1751

This week, Scott joins Leo to talk about how Warner Brothers and Apple have upgraded the Lord of the Rings trilogy to 4K HDR and high frame rate. And the thing is, it looks too real. You can see too much detail and that means you can tell the prosthetics from the real thing. And it's really noticeable. Leo says it'll take time, but filmmakers will have to adjust how they make a movie to return the dreamy look that makes cinema so great. 

What soundbar should I buy?

Vizio 2.1 Sound Bar SB3821-C6

Episode 1749

Paul from Seaside, CA

Paul recently bought an LG CX 4K TV, and it's incredible. Now he needs a good soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos. He has a high, pitched ceiling. Leo says that Atmos doesn't benefit from a high vaulted ceiling. Especially when tilted. The only way to benefit would be to hang separate speakers closer to the ceiling. A normal 5.1 or 7.1 system would be better for Paul's living room.  And you want to make sure you get a subwoofer. Leo and Scott agree that the Vizio line of soundbars is ideal for the money. Scott recommends the SB3851 or SB4251. Get the M series.

Scott Wilkinson ... High and Low

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1749

Scott joins Leo to talk about this year's Black Friday deals. There was a ton of great Black Friday deals, but Scott says a lot of them were very low-end models. Most were edge-lit LCD TVs. Not a great way to watch TV, but they are cheap. Scott recommends looking at Series 5 TCL LCDs, though. Still affordable and a model up. Vizio's M Series is comparable, as is the Hi-Sense H8 series. If you can find them on black Friday sales, and this year the sales are going for far longer than just one day, then go for it. 

Why Don't My Headphones Work When I Stream Netflix?

Netflix

Episode 1748

Terry from Valley Center, CA

Terry recently switched from Dish to DirecTV. But when he uses his wireless headphones, they won't work when he streams Netflix from the TV. He's got them connected to his TV audio out jack and a splitter/converter. The soundbar works via optical, and Leo thinks that the optical is now cutting off the TV output jack. Leo says that you need a splitter that will split optical (which is light). Terry's splitter is likely failing.

Why Isn't My Subwoofer Working?

RCA Connector Cables

Episode 1748

Stan from Victorville, CA

Stan is having issues with his home theater system subwoofer. No bass at all. Leo says that there are two ways to connect your subwoofer.  A single RCA jack or an LFE connection (for low frequency).

But it could also be a setting in Netflix. Make sure you have your Netflix app set for surround. Make sure the highest quality is also selected. Also, check the settings in your streaming box. 

What Soundbar Can Replace a Dying Home Theater System?

Pioneer FS-EB70

Episode 1748

Gantry from Huntington Beach, CA

Gantry is looking to replace his old sound system, which recently died. He's seeing 3D soundbars, atmos soundbars, and more. What system should he get? Leo says you could buy a new center channel to replace the channel that is broken. Soundbars aren't as good as 5.1 Dolby surround systems. But if you don't want to rewire it, or get a new AV receiver, then a soundbar is a good alternative. Leo says that Vizio makes a great line of soundbars in all budgets. They are even Atmos capable with upward-firing speakers. 

Can I create sound all around the house using Amazon Echo speakers?

Episode 1747

Paul from Columbus, OH

Paul wants to be able to hook up a friend's Amazon Alexa device to his CD system, so he can create a speaker system in every house. Leo says that the Amazon FireTV Cube has an IR blaster that can command your devices from anywhere in the house. But to broadcast the signal on the Echo devices may be a challenge. If they had an audio-in jack, then that would be the easiest. Doing it digitally from your computer and streaming music would be even easier.  But to play physical media over an Echo system is a challenge.